The St. Louis Cardinals do not have a lot of catcher depth. Maybe this is closer: The Cardinals have a lot of catcher depth—they're carrying three backups on the 40-man roster—but none of them is very good. If that apparent Yadier Molina injury in the ninth inning of their Chicago Cubs meet-up Saturday is serious, oblique serious, the Cardinals will have plenty of options to replace him. It's just that none of them come near replacing the National League's best catcher.â†µ
Tony Cruz is the first option. In his first full season as the Cardinals' backup Cruz has hit .250/.258/.362, which is one of those lines only a backup catcher can carry over a full season. A converted third baseman, Cruz has a little power, and—if not excellent defense—a pretty good arm. He's the closest thing to a well-rounded backup catcher the Cardinals have, and he's walked twice in 120 plate appearances.â†µ
Bryan Anderson, once one of the Cardinals' top prospects, is the next option. A long-time empty .280 hitter in Memphis, Anderson had the worst season of his career—and the worst season in the Pacific Coast League—in 2012, struggling to an empty .225 mark. He's shaky on defense, but he's left-handed and capable of some line drives at his best, meaning he'd probably soak up some of the at-bats against right-handers if it comes to this.â†µ
Finally, there's Steven Hill, who has played at least 20 minor league games at catcher, first base, left field, right field, and third base. Hill, brought in to replace Lance Berkman as a right-handed pinch hitter, has genuinely impressive power, player-of-last-resort defensive versatility, and not much else. But his presence on the roster will allow Matheny to play Cruz and Anderson a little like a set of platoon relievers, if he'd like to.â†µ
Or if he has to. Hopefully, he still doesn't.